World’s longest commercial flight route is created as Cathay Pacific launch 10,326-mile New York-Hong Kong service avoiding Russian airspace
- Hong Kong flag carrier to detour round Russia, adding almost two hours to flight
- JFK-HKG flight will exceed 10,000 miles, flying over Atlantic and China instead
- New York to Hong Kong route was formerly 8,072 miles and over central Russia
- Journey overtakes Singapore Airlines’ alternative on the same route for top spot
Cathay Pacific will set a new world record for the longest commercial flight route after tweaking its New York to Hong Kong journey to avoid Russian airspace.
Hong Kong’s national flag carrier will now send jets journeying between JFK in New York and Hong Kong International (HKG) around Russia rather than through it.
It will also cross over the UK, much of mainland Europe and central Asia, also avoiding Ukraine.
That means a journey of 10,326 miles rather than the previous 8,072. It will become the first ever regular passenger flight to exceed 10,000 miles.
And for passengers, it means a flight of almost 17 hours rather than 15.
The new flight path new crosses the UK, mainland Europe and central Asia to avoid Russia
Hong Kong flag carrier Cathay Pacific is headquartered at Hong Kong International Airport
Dozens of Asian carriers have been forced to amend flightpaths to avoid Russia and Ukraine
Patient passengers must now spend an extra two hours onboard to travel 2,254 miles further
Cathay revealed its plan in a company memo sent to flight crews today, Bloomberg reported.
The new route overtakes Singapore Airlines’ 9,537-mile flight from New York to Hong Kong, which takes a tad longer at 17-and-a-half hours, according to FlightRadar 24.
Airlines have made efforts to avoid Russian and Belarussian airspace since the invasion of Ukraine on February 24.
It is now a criminal offence for Russian aircraft to enter UK airspace – with violating vessels seized.
Cathay said its fleet of Airbus A350-1000s can complete the longer New York-Hong Kong route safely without needing to refuel on the way.
However, the route may change again in the summer as tailwinds over the Atlantic become less powerful – making the Pacific a better option.
A spokeswoman said: ‘We are always running contingency routings for potential events or scenarios.
‘The Transatlantic option relies on the facilitation of strong seasonal tailwinds at this time of the year in order for the flight time to be between 16 and 17 hours, thereby making it more favorable than the Transpacific route.’
Other airlines which have tweaked flight routes to avoid Russia include Japan Airlines, which crosses Alaska and Canada on its way between Tokyo and London Heathrow.
The route formerly included passing over much of Siberia, a saving of almost five hours.
Meanwhile British Airways has warned it will have to cancel hundreds of flights scheduled over the next few weeks.
Passengers have been left waiting in hours-long baggage return queues due to persistent IT issues.
In an internal message to staff, BA chief executive Sean Doyle admitted passengers and employees are ‘fed up’ with the recent issues but said there were ‘no quick fixes’.
That came after the airline – which announced it was scrapping masks on flights – reversed the plan and warned people they must wear them on journeys to 50 destinations.
Places affected include Greece, Italy, the United States and Germany.